Research has indicated that oxidative stress is the cause of many serious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, arteriosclerosis and diabetes.
It occurs when the body is exposed to excessive amounts of electrically charged, aggressive oxygen compounds. These are normally produced during breathing and other metabolic processes, but also in the case of ongoing stress, exposure to UV light or X-rays. If the oxidative stress is too high, it overwhelms the body's natural defences. The aggressive oxygen compounds destroy genetic material, resulting in what are referred to as harmful 8-oxo-guanine base mutations in the DNA.
DNA repair mechanism decodedTogether with the University of Oxford, Enni Markkanen, a veterinarian in the working group of Prof. Ulrich Hübscher from the Institute of Veterinary Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Zurich has decoded and characterized the repair mechanism for the mutated DNA bases. This mechanism efficiently copies thousands of 8-oxo-guanines without their harmful mutations, thus normally preventing the negative consequences of 8-oxo-guanine damage. In their study, published in «PNAS», the researchers outline the detailed processes involved in the local and temporal coordination of this repair mechanism.